Featured on KomoNews.com

Our Raingardens (and this blog) have been featured on komonews.com: http://ballard.komonews.com/content/ballards-new-green-infrastructure-has-some-neighbors-seeing-red

To address SPU’s statement that “60 percent to 70 percent of the rain gardens are functioning properly, meaning there is less than six inches of standing water and water drains within 72 hours of the last rain”: As residents we do not feel that waiting 72 hours after rain stops in Seattle, Washington, for there to be no pooling water is an appropriate or safe design for a neighborhood. Technically, they should then be called “retention basins” and should be located in more open areas, such as parking lots, parks, and beaches.

Additionally, it is impossible to evaluate the effectiveness of the Raingardens given they have been plugged with tar, not allowing them to fill as designed. Water cannot flow in from the street, and lips on the curbs prevent the water from flowing out.

Secondly, SPU is not pumping the Raingardens every three days, which should be apparent by today’s earlier post and the picture of the standing water that had pond scum on the top after over a week of no circulation.

Thirdly, SPU’s assertion, “There’s no evidence, either nationally or locally, of children being hurt in those things,” may be true, but that is because these Raingardens are a prototype. Toddlers drown in 1-2 inches of water, period. [Sources: Washington State Drowning Prevention Network, Oregon Department of Health and Services, American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Children’s Hospital, and Safe Kids USA.] These Raingardens are unquestionably, inarguably unsafe for all of our children.

We look forward to the Community Meeting on February 2nd to fully describe our issues and provide suggestions for improving these Raingardens, if they can be recovered at all, given the type of soil they have been installed in.


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9 responses to “Featured on KomoNews.com

  1. Rob

    I don’t live in this neighborhood but want to express my extreme disappointment in KOMO News for running this story. I’m sick and tired of taxpayers complaining about gardens that don’t look like gardens and muddy holes in the ground, and then feeling upset when our government and SPU choose to ignore the neighborhood’s wishes. I’m sick and tired of news stations reporting this, as though our government is actually supposed to look out for the interests of the people it represents. A great big kudos to the City and SPU for ignoring the wants of our citizens and holding their ground. I myself am looking forward to swimming in these muddy holes, spending extra quality time with my kids to ensure they don’t fall in and collecting mosquito larvae for my son’s science project. I’m very excited to see what they might do in my neighborhood and can’t wait for that chapter to unfold. Here’s to you, SPU! Keep up the great work!

  2. MG

    First World complaints. Must be hard to live in Ballard.
    Instead of creating a blog as a forum to document (whine about) it, why not put together some work parties to resolve the issues.

    • Thank you for your feedback, MG. Unfortunately, a work party would not be able to resolve the lack of drainage issue, which leaves standing water in our neighborhoods and creates several serious hazards that endanger our children.

  3. MG

    Pick up some soil or have it delivered and fill in the ditches yourselves. You keep asking the city to do this, so it sounds like you have found a solution. Or go out and buy some fish and create really cool neighborhood ponds. Teach your children to be solution focused instead of whining about what someone else needs to do for you.

    I just can’t muster any sympathy. These are contrived “serious hazards”. You want to talk about serious hazards, try raising your children along Rainier Avenue with weekly gang shootings…I could go on and on, but I don’t think I am going to be able burst the bubble that you all live in.

    • Thanks for the feedback. We are legally prohibited from touching the City’s project.

    • Rob

      I completely agree that raising kids in Rainier Valley is unimaginably hard — I went to school in that neighborhood myself and know it’s a completely different world than Sunset Hill (Ballard). But that’s a separate issue. The issue here is the city screwed something up and should fix it instead of ignoring the neighborhood’s concerns. If you want to start a blog about Rainier Valley and need support, I’m happy to post comments there too about making Rainier Valley a safe place. But let’s also give these folks in Ballard our support, too…

  4. Ted

    I enjoyed the article on KOMO news – and think there are a couple of points here that should be raised to seek resolution:

    1) The pictures used for the Portland rain gardens are obviously after the vegetation has grown in for a couple of years (my guess) and should have been communicated as such to the community.

    2) These mud pits do look like a hazard and a mess – so SPU should perform mitigation steps until the gardens are grown in. Sorry SPU – but get off your butts and pump out these holes every time we have a big rain storm. You created the problem, you own it until it can develop vegetation to handle the water levels.

    3) I’m and environmentalist and a progressive – but perhaps next time we should really question if this is the best use of our tax dollars to “create jobs”. Did it really or just support keeping more folks on the payroll for the city?

    4) Parents that live around these – here’s a simple solution. You procreated or adopted your kids, you are responsible to guide them not to play in the pits. I live near a stream that overflows during big rainstorms. Is it the city’s responsibility to keep an eye on my kids or mine to ensure they stay away from a potential drowning situation? Mine. I know responsibility is tough sometimes – but buck up parents – and watch your kids or move away. Choices are sometimes very simple to lay out – but tough to make.


    • Rob

      I want to re-emphasize I don’t live there but want to make a point about the comments about parents watching their kids: these are *filled* with muddy water that was not supposed to be there in an area that was once fairly safe for children to play in their front yard. You can be a diligent parent and tragedies can still happen, and the city does not need to do their part to increase the odds. That’s like saying the city can store TNT and a detonator in our front yards and if you are a diligent parent it won’t be an issue. But that’s just one issue. I think the *real* issue is the city created something that is upsetting an *entire* neighborhood and the city is ignoring their concerns. We are supposed to live in a representative government, and this deeply concerns me that SPU and the city representatives are not addressing neighborhood issues that they (they city) created.

  5. Steve

    We do sound like we are a bunch of whiners but MG & Ted, we had a safe neat neighborhood which most here put a lot of time effort and pride into, then came the raingarden project, pretty name but thats where it ends. If this area had soil which could absorb that much water I believe there would not be so many compaints. They can plant whatever & however many plants they want but jungle plants couldn’t suck up this much water. The ground does not perk, its clay/hardpan after about 12”-18” down. We had to dig 9 feet down to the bottom of our house footing, it is solid, just ask a city worker or builder, they will tell you the same.Once again, good idea, wrong area.

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